By Sue Bannon
Our hands have a different skin structure to other parts of our body: The skin on our palms, balls of our fingers and thumbs: is rich in fatty and connective tissue (such as elastin and collagen), has a high density of sweat glands but very few sebaceous glands. The skin on the backs of our hands: has hardly any fatty tissue, is especially thin and sensitive, and has few sebaceous glands. Our sebaceous glands are responsible for the production of sebum which provides skin with lipids (or fats) and moisture-binding components. Because hands have few sebaceous glands, they are less able to bind in and retain moisture than other parts of the body and dry out faster.
Dry, cracked hands is a huge issue for some. Moisture loss from your hands is a real thing, in any season. During the cold winter season forced air heat, fire places, and less humid conditions can reduce the moisture level in your nails and hands leaving them dehydrated. In the spring and summer seasons, outdoor activities can take their toll. Pool water, ocean water, working in the garden and sunscreen all have an effect on your skin. Excessive hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers will also rob your skin of precious moisture.
Washing dishes is the WORST activity for your hands and nails, so it's time to break out the rubber gloves. One of the best remedies for dry hands is to slather them at night with lotion. Massaging the cream in to your cuticles will help to stimulate healthy nail growth. Applying cuticle oil before bed is the best thing you can do you for your nails, don’t have an oil specific for cuticles, a dab of olive oil works just as well. After, cover your hands with a pair of soft gloves or socks. Trapping the moisturizer will help it absorb more fully into your skin, and you'll wake up with baby-smooth hands.
Look for moisturizers containing ingredients such as: glycerin, jojoba oil, cocoa butter or aloe. Fragrance free is also your best option, NOT unscented, fragrance free. There is a difference. Companies may add more fragrance and chemicals to mask each other to make something UNSCENTED. Fragrance free is just that.
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